I love you, mom.
My mother was raped. Twice. Once before I was born and once after. That was all she told me that night when I was seventeen. That's all I could listen to, all I could stomach. The cold came then, a sense of shock and horror that that could have happened to someone so close to me. Someone who was supposed to be the strongest person in the world, a superhero. You hear about it happening to other people, but not to people you love, to people you depend on for so much, for so long. To people you are irreversibly intertwined with the moment you enter this world, and for the rest of your life. Before, she was a promising intelligence Marine Corp officer, after she was shunned and shamed for something that wasn't her fault but nevertheless was blamed on her. It destroyed her career, he got a promotion. He went on with his life, unconvicted, guiltless in the eyes of the government, she was left with a crippling fear of men, in the dark and in pain. She still gets nightmares, you know. And I can't do anything except try and be a good daughter for her. Anything to ease the pain. These horrible, traumatic, degrading things that happened to her fractured her soul and mind. Ten years later, she's still recovering, slowly but surely. She's started going to group therapy, but there's still the paranoia, the stigma, the helpless anger. She can't speak about these events, but I can. I can tell her story and hope that maybe, maybe someone, anyone will listen. I don't want money, I want justice. Justice for her and justice for the countless victims of sexual assault whose voices are ignored or mocked because "they were asking for it", simply because they had the audacity to be born a woman.